Bucket of Time and Bucket of Money

Filippo di Trapani shared this idea from Shopify’s David Lennie with me once and it changed my life — as documented here by Maria Scarpello. Maria went further to point out that you also need a bucket of drive. Lennie’s point is that data is what enables you to slow down the leaky buckets and get greater control of over your life.

“It makes a clear argument that the small business owner needs to save money or time — and ideally, they want to save both. But those two buckets are leaking all the time, and if they run out then it’s GAME OVER ;-).”

Another frame I have found helpful is the work by Gianpiero Petriglieri on the “gig economy” … let me get that info and put it here for posterity. Okay. Found it!

It’s all about the psychology of work independence and this diagram frames it all so beautifully as the way a byzzer thinks:

The new study by Insead’s Gianpiero Petriglieri, et al is super useful not only to understand the psychology of the “gig economy” participants, but to understand the psychology of small business owners and entrepreneurs in general.

By clarifying the process through which people manage emotions associated with precarious and personalized work identities, and thereby render their work identities viable and their selves vital, this paper advances theorizing on the emotional underpinnings of identity work and the systems psychodynamics of independent work.

If I may translate that, it’s all about finding one’s identity in the work that they do — which when a large corporation succeeds, then the employee gets a win-win world. For a business of one, it’s the fruit of one’s success; for a tech startup, it’s also the fruit of success that generally gets lost when the company starts to scale. For a non-tech startup, or a small business in general that chooses not to grow, it’s the commonsense outcome of achieving financial freedom on one’s own terms. In their diagram, this part is the important part: